On Friday, April 26, 2019, alarm struck the hallways of RMHS. An email from the school administration was sent notifying students of a shooting threat written in the boys bathroom. This email indicated that while further investigations were bring conducted, there was no credibility to the threat. For many, however, panic ensued.
Students quickly turned to social media, attempting to gather any additional information available about the threat. There was continued discussion about the message, pictures of the writing and recommendations on how to preserve safety within the school.
“The threats were hard to believe at first, and frightening for obvious reasons; I mean it could be anyone in the school who wrote the messages,” freshman Gage Lockley said. “I felt safer with the extra security, but I feel like the atmosphere was too relaxed for the severity of the situation. I wish the procedure during a tense situation would continually remind students what to do in case of a threat. Emails, announcements, warnings, drills are all very helpful.”
Soon after the first email, a second email was sent to assure students that there was no credibility to the threat and that the school day would continue as planned. The Rolling Meadows Police Department (RMPD) worked with the administration and an increased number of police were present throughout the hallways that day.
“I’m grateful to the RMPD,” Principal Eileen Hart said. “I’m grateful to our leadership team and the RMPD that took efforts to investigate these incidents. It was a really hard week. It was a really sad week of events. Thank you to the students and staff for their efforts to bring the Mustang school community together during this difficult week of events.
The partnership between the RMHS administration and RMPD has been paramount during the process of the investigation to help keep students at ease and ensure safety.
“I think when people see an increased police [presence], it’s welcomed,” Hart said.
Many students had concerns as to how the administration handled communicating the issue. However, many details were not released regarding the extent of the situation due to protocol during an active police investigation.
“At least the staff should’ve been more informed,” junior Amanda Rebman said. “Students would’ve felt much safer if they had an adult in the room that knew what was going on. Parents should have also been more informed. They were given information that made the situation seem like it wasn’t serious. I understand that they didn’t want to scare students; however, I believe students should have been aware of the extent of the situation.”
Other concerns arose as to why the school was not on lockdown during the indicated time of the message. Many students felt unsafe roaming the halls while thinking the threat may still be plausible.
“We definitely used all of our resources, for sure,” Hart said. “There have been conversations about why we did not have a lockdown. We take safety seriously so we investigate all threats, statements, and incidents and then in collaboration with the RMPD and the administration decisions to have or not have a lockdown is determined.”
Though several students were frightened due to the threat, some individuals felt more calm due to the lack of alarm from superiors.
“It didn’t seem that serious,” junior Sarah Weil said. “If it was more serious, they would have put us in a lockdown, they would have made an announcement, they would have had teachers tell us. Everyone would have heard right away.”
While no additional security measures have been implemented yet, the administration hopes that these threats will no longer arise throughout District 214. Due to legal reasons, no additional information such as students’ names, consequences or further details about the threats can be disclosed.
“Students, [if] you see something, you say something,” Hart said. “Tell a staff member, come tell the front office. If it’s late at night, and our office is closed, call the RMPD; let them know if you believe you have heard of a threat of some kind or endangerment to our school. They are here to support us. They support our school community. The RMPD do an outstanding job of that.”
The administration believes that in order to overcome these threats to our school, we must act as a collective. Progress will not be made alone.